SAN FRANCISCO -- Doing a good deed and good business at the same time, Crimson Language Services has formed a partnership with OpNet to design Spanish-language capability for plan sponsor and service providers' retirement plan Web sites, said Marc H. Miller, Crimson's chief executive officer.
In addition, Crimson will donate 10% of its Web translation profits to OpNet, which is earmarking that money to train low-income Latino candidates for technology careers, he said.
"Since we have three young people who apply for each available training slot, the 10% reinvestment means that we can offer even more of our services to the Latino community," said Dan Geiger, OpNet's executive director.
So far, OpNet -- a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that helps prepare low-income young adults for careers in the multimedia industry -- has trained and placed more than 50 young people in paid internships, he said. Many of its applicants come from the Latino and African-American communities, Mr. Geiger said. Training them may help to "bridge the digital divide" and bring qualified people of color into the multimedia industry, he added.
Under the partnership, Crimson will provide the translation services and OpNet will develop the technology, Mr. Miller said.
One of the challenges of providing Spanish translation for defined contribution Web sites is maintaining consistency with the English language version of the material included on the Web site, he said.
"And if you can update the material and make it available regularly, usage explodes," Mr. Miller said.
Each time a plan participant clicks onto the site, "it is an opportunity to deepen the relationship by giving more information about the plan and cross-selling something else," he said.
The service is being shown around to service providers and defined contribution plan sponsors, he said. The duo will add a Spanish language button to existing Web sites that will lead the user to translated pages, Mr. Miller said.
This feature will allow Spanish speakers to check their accounts and conduct transactions via the Web, he said.
In the next couple of weeks, Mr. Miller said, he plans to take their show on the road with presentations to financial markets across the country.
Earlier this month, 401k Forum -- a San Francisco-based provider of participant investment advice -- reached an understanding with Crimson and OpNet to provide Spanish translation of its communication and online materials.
Between now and 2010, the U.S. Hispanic work force is expected to grow at the rate of 3.1% annually, compared with 0.9% for non-Hispanic whites, Mr. Miller said. "With such a rapid growth rate, we'll be dealing with a largely Hispanic work force," he said.